Disabling Trackbacks in MovableType

Update: I WAS WRONG. It seemed too easy so I did some digging. <MTEntryTrackBackData> seems to be a tag from an alternate universe, immune to the conditionality imposed by <MTEntryIfPingsAccepted>. A couple things I discovered: MTEntryTrackBackData seems to close the condition imposed by MTEntryIfPingsAccepted, so an </MTEntryIfPingsAccepted> doesn't get processed and instead ends up in the HTML output stream. Furthermore: MTEntryTrackBackData always returns data if a trackback ID was created for the entry in question (not that it received a trackback, but that at some point in the past trackbacks were accepted for the entry. If trackbacks were ever accepted for an entry on the site, then there is a row in the mt_trackback table in your MovableType database.

Net: the only way to get <MTEntryTrackBackData> to not generate trackback RDF is to remove the tag from your template and rebuild your site. The conditional tag <MTEntryIfPings> does not affect MTEntryTrackBackData processing. And MTEntryTrackBackData will always return data if the entry in question has ever accepted trackbacks.

The remainder of this post is erroneous but left in for your entertainment.

A number of sites are disabling trackbacks due to trackback spam. Trackback was a neat idea, but it's been abused to the point of having little value in actually tracking a conversation.

Anyway, I disabled trackbacks on a number of my sites before going on vacation recently, however I realized that all of my MovableType templates continued to include the trackback data. This happened because my templates (and I think it's the default in MT templates) used used <MTEntryTrackBackData> to include the RDF in the HTML stream. Since I may some day turn trackbacks on, I didn't remove the tag entirely, but enclosed it in a conditional:


If you disable trackbacks entirely and never plan to use them again, you might as well strip out the code. However if you think you might use them or you think that the trackback spam problem will be solved somehow, then try putting them in a conditional tag. When trackbacks are off it'll reduce your page size a bit and possibly speed up rebuilds.

Posted in MovableType

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